During deer season, which generally runs from October through December, there is a dramatic increase in the movement of the deer population. More deer-vehicle collisions occur in this period than at any other time of year, so drivers need to be especially cautious, warned the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
The average cost per insurance claim for collision damage is about $2,600, with costs varying depending on the type of vehicle and severity of damage. When you factor in auto claims involving bodily injury, the average rises to over $11,000, according to the I.I.I.
The following facts can be helpful in avoiding deer-related collisions:
Deer aren't just found on rural roads near wooded areas, many deer crashes occur on busy highways near cities.
Deer are unpredictable, especially when faced with glaring headlights, blowing horns and fast-moving vehicles. They often dart into traffic.
Deer often move in groups. If you see one, there are likely more in the vicinity.
When driving, the I.I.I. recommends taking the following precautions:
Drive with caution when moving through deer-crossing zones, in areas known to have a large deer population and in areas where roads divide agricultural fields from forestland.
Always wear your seat belt and stay awake, alert and sober.
When driving at night, use high beam headlights when there is no oncoming traffic. The high beams will better illuminate the eyes of deer on or near the roadway.
Be especially attentive from sunset to midnight and during the hours shortly before and after sunrise. These are the highest risk times for deer-vehicle collisions.
Brake firmly when you notice a deer in or near your path, but stay in your lane. Many serious crashes occur when drivers swerve to avoid a deer and hit another vehicle or lose control of their cars.
Do not rely on devices such as deer whistles, deer fences and reflectors to deter deer. These devices have not proven effective.
In the event your vehicle strikes a deer, try to avoid going near or touching the animal. A frightened and wounded deer can hurt you or further injure itself, warned the I.I.I. If the deer is blocking the roadway and poses a danger to other motorists, you should call the police immediately.
Contact your insurance company as quickly as possible to report any damage to your car. Collision with a deer or other animals is covered under the comprehensive portion of your automobile policy.
For more information about insurance, go to the I.I.I. Web site at http://www.iii.org.